Digg's Google Reader replacement to move into Beta and possible launch days before Google pulls the plug
In just a few weeks Google will shut down its Reader service for good, despite the massive outcry to keep it alive. Website Digg has been working on a replacement since the announcement was made that reader was going away. This morning it appears that the Digg Reader may just be ready to roll out a few days before the closure, giving everyone ample time to transition over.
Digg's reader uses the same API as Google Reader, so it should be very similar in function to what we are used to. Unlike Google Reader, the service most likely will not stay free, though. Digg says that "free internet services do not stick around very long" and that they "would like their users to become their customers." Pricing plans and other relevant information has not been released yet.
For now the service will be free and will enter public beta starting June 26th with "Friends and Family Beta" beginning this Wednesday with limited access.
This coming July yahoo will give its users the chance to switch out to a shorter more convenient user id. The company will begin resetting each and every Yahoo ID that is been dormant for a period of more than 12 months. This will effectively free up millions of usernames that can be registered with new users.
Yahoo's senior vice president Jay Rossiter says that this is the company's "next big push" and that "we want to give our loyal users and new folks the opportunity to sign up for the Yahoo ID they've always wanted."
Starting in mid July existing and new users will have the opportunity to reserve their ideal username, unfortunately it will take up to a month to learn if the name you have chosen has became available. To prevent your dormant Yahoo ID from being reassigned all you need to do is sign in to the service he for July 15 and the ID will be yours to keep forever.
YouTube has rolled out the new YouTube "One Channel" design to all users. The new design is meant to unify the layout across desktop, TV, and mobile. It features cover photos and trailers, but comes with many more advantages according to Google.
The One Channel design originally launched back in February, but as a limited trial. In March, YouTube allowed channel users to make the switch if they wanted to check out the new design for themselves. Back in May, YouTube announced that everyone would be switched over to the new design today. Google says the following are advantages of the new layout:
- Gain more subscribers. Google says it has seen an increase in new subscribers for channels already using the new design.
- Get more channel visits. Channels with the One Channel design have seen a significant increase in visits to their channel page because clicks from the guide always go directly to the channel, again according to Google.
- Let your brand shine through in more places. With the One Channel design, you now have channel art visible on iOS & Android apps, mobile web and TV.
This morning, Yahoo announced that it has redesigned its search page and claims this new look "put[s] your results front and center." Search results are now placed higher on the page and Yahoo is even touting improved performance thanks to several undisclosed improvements to its search algorithm.
Yahoo has also integrated its Google-like top navigation bar to the search page in an attempt to improve the user experience. While these changes are small, they are part of Yahoo's larger plan to revamp their image and combine utility with beauty. The company says that today's changes are just the first step in achieving that goal.
Google has plans to launch a new HTML5 development tool designed for "creative professionals." This new tool will launch within the "coming months" and will be a free tool. Google says that the new tool, known as Google Web Designer, will be able to create "cutting-edge advertising" and "web content like sites and applications."
The announcement was made through Google's DoubleClick, making it somewhat obvious that advertising is Google's main focus with this new tool. In fact, the tool wil be integrated into AdMob and DoubleClick studio. For right now, it appears that advertising content is the main focus of the new tool, but Google's description makes it appear that it will eventually turn into a website crafting tool.
Pinterest has announced a new feature that will allow users to search items that they have pinned, rather than all pins. This will make it easier to find something you know you pinned. It's really a feature that should have been included from the beginning. Now it's hear:
When you type a word into the search bar -- like San Francisco, beaches, or BBQ -- you can filter results by clicking "Just my pins." We'll show you everything you've pinned with that keyword in the pin description. Be sure to add words in your descriptions that will help you find that pin again.
The feature is rolling out on the web and will eventually be brought to mobile. Pinterest says they are currently planning to bring it to mobile, but they have not announced a firm date for when it will appear.
Twitter has confirmed that they had technical difficulties with their site and API, which resulted in downtime for some users. The issue lasted for around an hour, with Twitter confirming that "some users may be experiencing issues" with the micro-blogging site.
Some users may be experiencing issues accessing Twitter. Our engineers are currently working to resolve the issue.
The downtime seemed to be sporadic, with users reporting being able to access the site on some tries but not others. The API also appears to have been down, as reports from users say their third-party Twitter clients are unable to pull data from the social networking site.
According to Twitter, the issue was caused by an error in a routine change.
Due to an error in a routine change, Twitter was not available from 1:08pm PDT to 1:33pm PDT. We rolled back the erroneous change as soon as we identified the issue. Additionally, some users may have experienced Tweet delivery delay from 1:33pm PDT and 1:53pm PDT. We apologize for the inconvenience.
LinkedIn is the latest web property to join the growing crowd of companies that have implemented a version of two-step authentication. Two-step--or two-factor--authentication make accounts more secure by requiring more than just a password. Users often have to have access to their cell phone to log in on an unrecognized account.
In LinkedIn's case, users will be required to input a code sent via SMS to log in on an unrecognized device. LinkedIn director Vicente Silveira notes, "Most Internet accounts that become compromised are illegitimately accessed from a new or unknown computer. When enabled, two-step verification makes it more difficult for unauthorized users to access your account, requiring them to have both your password and access to your mobile phone."
Twitter and Apple both recently added two-step verification. For Twitter, it might have been too little, too late as they had already suffered from a number of high-profile hackings, including one of the AP's account that led to a rapid drop in the Dow Jones from a fake tweet.
Twitter has updated their website with new profile editing features. The new features include inline profile editing and drag-and-drop photo uploads, making customization of your profile that much easier. You can now easily update your profile information and drag-and-drop that new header picture you've been dying to use.
Twitter is likely hoping users will put more information onto Twitter so they can more easily target users with ads. It will also help to entrench users with the service and increase engagement because user profiles should be more personalized because it's so easy to do. Watch the video above or check out Twitter's updated "Editing your profile" help section.
Facebook has gone ahead and copied a feature of Twitter. Celebrities and brands will now be able to get their page or profile verified, much like Twitter's verified accounts. Being verified comes with some perks and makes it easier for users to see if the page or profile is the real you.
According to Facebook, a verified account will "appear more frequently in the people to subscribe to list." Facebook notes that "you'll also have the option to show an alternate name more prominently on Facebook." Pages and profiles that have been verified will feature a small blue checkmark next to the page or profile's name.
To verify a page, you'll need to send a copy of a government-issued photo ID. Facebook says the copy will be deleted immediately after verification. Facebook will proactively reach out to verify accounts. In fact, there is no way for users or pages to request verification.
Google+ has had verified pages since 2011 and Twitter has had them since 2009.
Google's previously rumored update to Gmail and its interface has been made official by the web giant. Earlier today, Google unveiled its updated Gmail interface and new sorting mechanisms that aim to make e-mail simpler and easier to use. Check out the video they released on YouTube:
The new sorting mechanisms attempt to categorize e-mail. Tabs can be created for promotions, updates, social, and primary e-mail. Starred e-mail and e-mail from friends will show up in your primary tab, which is the tab shown by default on the new Gmail app. E-mails from social networks and forums are sent to the social tab.
Users who don't like the new tabs can disable them completely and use the old interface. The tabs are also configurable, meaning you can have anywhere from zero to five tabs, depending on your needs and wants.
Google has announced the ability for all users to turn their videos into slow motion video. While not quite the same thing as using a high speed camera, the effect is still quite good, as you can see in the demo provided by Google. The first video is the normal speed video and the second video is after the slow motion enhancement is applied.
It's rather simple to apply the enhancement. Simply head over to the YouTube Editor or the Enhancements tool and apply it to an uploaded video. We're just hoping that slow motion videos don't take over YouTube. If you find a cool slow motion YouTube video, feel free to send it to us or post it in the comments!
Google has introduced two new Chrome Experiments. Both make use of Chrome across multiple devices and allow multiplayer web experiences across computers, tablets, and smartphones. Both are small little games that are designed to show the possibilities of Chrome and the Internet. First up, Roll It:
Roll It is a virtual version of the classic ski-ball game. It uses the desktop Chrome to render the graphics. Balls are rolled by flicking your smartphone running Chrome. Racer, on the other hand, is a virtual slot-car game. Users build race tracks that align across five mobile screens. Touching your screen sends your car across all the devices.
Google has expanded the reach of its Maps product by adding biking navigation to six additional European countries. Biking instructions are very similar to Google's normal directions, though they take into account busy roads, bike paths, and other factors to make your outing safer and more enjoyable.
Today's update adds Germany, France, Poland, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. The new maps have been generated with the help of partner groups in some countries and the cyclists themselves in other countries. Google notes that the cyclists themselves are the ones who know the best routes and Google encourages cyclists to add, update, and change biking directions.
For more information, you can head over to Google's Europe Blog announcement post.
Yahoo could buy Hulu for as much as $800 million, could a Tumblr and Hulu rally save the once great search giant?
With its recent acquisition of Tumblr still cooling down, Yahoo is looking at making another major purchase. The once giant of internet search is reportedly looking to pick up the streaming service Hulu for an astounding $600-$800 million.
The reports come from All Things D which has a record of about 99.9% when it comes to Yahoo rumors. Their report states that Yahoo's bid would change depending on licensing deals and the amount of control the current owners would like to maintain over their programming.
DirecTV and Time Warner Cable are also looking to pick up Hulu, but again, their bid for the service would depend on what ABC, Fox and Comcast wish to do with the current content they feature on the service. With many industry analysts still of the mindset that Yahoo is a sinking ship, it leaves one to wonder if these high profile acquisitions will be the salvation or damnation of the company.
Most of the must-see movie trailers reach Apple's trailers.apple.com website first, but it looks like Apple have very quietly removed both the 1080p trailer availability, and the download option. Before this, Apple let you stream and download trailers in varying resolutions.
You could watch it in 480p or 720p, and download it in 480p, 720p, 1080p and iPod/iPhone quality. Trailers uploaded to the website after May 22 (or so) will no longer include the download ability, and can only be streamed in-browser at the low res of just 480p or 720p. It's not known why Apple are doing this, especially when they have their Retina-based MacBook Pros, that can now just stream 720p video from their own website.
It looks as though Google could be readying a user interface revamp for Gmail on the web and its app. Several screenshots have been leaked and in them a radically different Gmail can be seen. The question is, are they real? TheNextWeb was provided with the following screenshot by a source:
It seems to show that there will be a few default tabs at the top to help you sort through your e-mail. The categories are reportedly Main, Social, Offers, Notifications, and Forums. It would appear that e-mail will automatically be categorized by Gmail into these various tabs.
Google's spokesperson said that they don't comment on rumor or speculation, so for now, take these images with a grain of salt.
Amidst the launch of Google's Trend Visualizer, Microsoft has launched several new features to its Bing search engine. The most notable are in the service's news search where a new Trending Topics section is displayed in carousel form.
This new feature displays trending topics in a carousel of images with related personalities being displayed in a box to the left. These new features do not take one to a specific page, but rather to a new page of search results based on the topic you chose.
Bing has also extended its trending results to include data from the last several years and not just the last two weeks as previously done.
Google takes design cues from Windows 8 in new Trend Visualizer, shows what searches are trending in real-time
Everyone always complains about the amount of data that Google collects from our searches and for the most part, there is nothing to be concerned with. While Google does use that data for targeted ad placement, they also use it to improve their products and create exciting new things.
This morning Google released one of those new exciting things, and they are calling it the "Trend Visualizer". The new web app is a full screen real-time wall of the most popular searches entered by people all over the US.
The actual effect is pretty trippy and while it may not be of use to everyone, it would be really cool to toss up on a large screen display in an office or workroom.
Facebook is so yesterday. The hip site among teenagers is Tumblr, at least according to a Pew Research study. The study says that teenagers are looking for a more "real" experience that isn't offered by Facebook and Twitter. Furthermore, teens are acutely aware that their parents are now on Facebook and monitoring their activities.
By switching over to Tumblr, these teens are looking to escape the drama, watchful parents, and "unnecessary pictures" that are ever-present on Facebook. Several teenagers were interviewed during a Pew Research focus group:
Anonymous female, age 15:
I have a Facebook, a Tumblr, and Twitter. I don't use Facebook or Twitter much. I rather use Tumblr to look for interesting stories. I like Tumblr because I don't have to present a specific or false image of myself and I don't have to interact with people I don't necessarily want to talk to.
Anonymous male, age 18:
OK, here's something I want to say. I think Facebook can be fun, but also it's drama central. On Facebook, people imply things and say things, even just by a like, that they wouldn't say in real life."
It will be important for Yahoo to keep Tumblr fairly intact or the company risks creating another Facebook.
Twitter continues to increase advertising on Twitter to try to increase revenues. The latest advertising change will allow select advertisers to gather contact information directly from tweets. This should help companies identify how much return on investment they are seeing from advertising with Twitter.
Select advertisers will be able to collect contact information from users who click a customizable "call to action" button. A user's information is already filled in, making the process painless for both the advertiser and Twitter user. The advertiser will then receive the e-mail, Twitter name, and name of prospective customers.
The feature is currently being tested by Priceline, New Relic, and others, but the group remains small. It's currently available to managed clients, but a global launch is coming "soon."